By Gail Fordham (Alphonse)
ICS staff were delighted to wake up one morning in March earlier this year to find the enormous Ocean Zephyr research vessel moored on the eastern side of the Alphonse Atoll. The Nekton Mission aims to explore the remote deep waters of the Seychelles Outer Islands, using manned submersibles to reach depths of up to 500 metres. ICS staff were provided with a guided tour of the ship and explanations of the countless projects spearheaded by the Nekton Mission on this expedition, spanning from seabed mapping to investigations of fish spawning and predator diversity.
Later on in the week, After a briefing by hard coral expert, Rowana Walton, ICS Conservation Ranger Christopher Narty helped the mission with underwater video transects as part of the coral reef component of their research.
With just a few hours to spare between submersible deployments and other scientific activities on the ship, a shore transfer was arranged for the Nekton Mission's media team, who shot sequences capturing the conservation work of ICS on Alphonse for a possible six-part documentary.
It was a pleasure working with the Nekton team, and we look forward to seeing how both the scientific data generated by the mission and the public awareness it has raised, will aid in the broader mission for robust protection of the marine wilderness surrounding the Seychelles Outer Islands.